Have you ever had a moment when things become a little clearer, you could relate a specific incident to what you were feeling? I had one of those moments this morning; it was heart wrenching but triggered something in my mind, I suddenly realized that I was not alone in my struggle and I could learn something everyday on how this illness works and what others do to live with it and make the right decisions, or even how to live with the bad ones.
It was 6am, and I was driving to the beach for a sunrise walk, thinking of the sand, the sun and the quiet during the morning, when I saw them – the Wallabies One hopped causally across the road; I slowed down knowing there was probably another not far behind. Sure enough he was on the side of the road trying to decide if he should cross. As we watched each other, he turned back into the bush, or so I thought. Watching him return to where he’d come from I continued on – well, he had a last second change of heart and turned to road as I drove past him, the two of us meeting in a split second, and I couldn’t stop. I felt the bump, and in that moment and my heart sank. I slowed looking in my mirror terrified at what I would see and what I had done. However, he wasn’t there! Where had he gone? I was sure I had hit him.
So, what does this have to with Bipolar Disorder, you ask? As I walked down the beach, thinking over the incident just moments before, I realized the Wallaby was as confused as I am sometimes, turning back and forth, not sure of the next step to take. My mind jumbled, turning in circles as I figure out my following move.
Hiding in the bush wondering if he should come out, is like hiding in a dark room afraid to go outside, to let people in. What will they think? If they see will they stop and talk, or will they just walk by.
Standing on the side of the road deciding what to do, is the spinning mind and the uncertainty that plagues everyday actions. Too many days are spent wondering what to do with the racing thoughts, wishing they would stop and focus to be on a single moment and action, if only for a few minutes.
Tires catching his tail are the risks taken – both good and bad. When incorrect decisions are made, there are people who are hurt; there is a feeling of helplessness and seemingly no way to make it better. The good is when a risk is taken and can stand tall, no matter the pain and press on determined to do the right thing.
Wallabies, Kangaroos, Wombats and various other wildlife find their way on to the roads, and their struggle with survival, taking chances, relying on instinct to make the right decision is relatable to those with mental illness and challenges faced daily.
There is no doubt. I will look more closely from this day forward, though that isn’t a guarantee of it not happening again, just like each cycle, I go through – as mania and depression collide – I will at some point come face to face with an obstacle along the road.